James B. Comey is the head of the F.B.I. He had a problem. The F.B.I. was looking at a computer belonging to a man charged with texting with an underage girl.
The man is a former congressman. His name is Anthony Weiner. He is married to Huma Abedin. The couple is separated. Huma Abedin is an aide to Hillary Clinton.
The Weiner computer contained emails. Some of the emails were by his wife. What is the burning question? Do any of the emails contain classified information?
F.B.I. Director Comey does not know. Even so, he announced the F.B.I. was going to look into the matter. The announcement created a firestorm because certain F.B.I. guidelines were not followed.
The F.B.I. should not announce investigations before they begin. The Bureau cannot look at the emails until they get a warrant allowing them to begin. The F.B.I. did not have a warrant when the director made the announcement.
Most important, the public should not view the agency as interfering in an election.
Republicans are cheering him for the announcement. They believe it will help Trump and hurt Clinton. Democrats are furious about his actions.
Why did Director Comey announce the investigation? There is a good reason why he may have done what he did. Information about an investigation might have “leaked” in the last week of the campaign.
If there were a leak, Republicans would have charged that the director was covering up for Mrs. Clinton. Democrats would have charged that the leak was to do damage to Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Comey might have decided it would be better for the nation if the news came out of his office. The nation will have a full week to deal with it. A leak a few days before the election would have created political chaos.
Director Comey is taking a big hit. It could be a heroic act.
Resource: The New York Times October 29, 2016